Answering More Questions

Here’s some answers to questions I’ve gotten in the "Comments" section.  Remember, I’m just a lone Ski Patroller.  These aren’t "official" answers.


To John Palmer re: winds shutting down lifts:

Yeah, 40mph is target area around which things start to get hinky, and it’s a combo of maximum AND average wind speeds, not one or the other.  Some lifts have warning alarms go off at lower wind speeds.  Some lifts have auto shut-offs at certain speeds, which require intentional manual restarting.  I’m avoiding stating hard-and-fast numbers and rules, because it’s not that simple.  Heavier chairs swing less than lighter ones.  Chairs loaded with huge, heavy people swing less than empty ones.  And sometimes, snowboards catch the wind and cause chairs to swing more than skis do–so hang on!  The vital wind speeds & directions (!!!) are the ones that cause the chairs to swing sideways.  Remember:  you can be standing at the bottom of REX relatively protected, and up at tower-15, it can be nukin’ a gale.  Generally, when the anamometers are showing consistent winds around 30-35 mph, we patrollers keep our lunch in our pack, just in case.


To T-Ride re: something I can’t quite decipher:

I’m not sure what you were getting at, but all U.S. ski areas have pretty similar rules (SLOW areas, hit-&-run, etc.), except for a few rules that vary state-to-state as laws that govern ski area operations vary state-to-state.  Also, sometimes Forest Service & BLM requirements vary a little–"open" boundaries vs. "closed" boundaries, etc.  I get the impression your TV may have confused you the same way some other people’s did.  You noticed that half of those Tru-TV "Ski Patrol" shows were from Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania, not us, right?.   I guess you can try to "gap" our patrol shacks if you want, but dude, you’re going to get splinters!


To Nathan Wilson re: No-Boards (bindingless snowboards you ride like a skateboard):

We’re not crazy about the possibility of a handle-rope getting caught on stuff, but we allow "No-boards" as long as you’re heads-up about it, the leash prevents runaway equipment, and you can load and unload lifts without needing special help from the attendant.  That’s also why we allow bikeboards (snowboards with short scooter-type handles) but DO NOT allow ski bikes or snow bikes.  A few years ago I got to spend a day riding with pro snowboarder Jonaven Moore who "no-boarded" so his little brother could hang with him.  It looked like you have to be as agile as Jonaven to avoid crashing into the lift line, so be careful!  Oh, and thank you for asking, first!


For those who have expressed interest in finding out more about joining Crystal Mountain’s volunteer ski patrol, send an e-mail to:


See you on the slopes!


7 thoughts on “Answering More Questions

  1. William

    The Crystal Mt website has an explanation for Kempers being a permanent closure. Could you also post reasons for Rockface and Waterfall being closed?


  2. Neil

    My wife and I are new to Crystal and had a couple of questions about the back country designations that you guys use. We were riding in avalanche basin area today (the south back) and were amazed to see very few people with backpacks or shovels that would indicate a preparedness to rescue a fellow traveler/partner. The area is posted as being not regularly patrolled or controlled. This seems to me to require proper back country travel procedure/manners. What’s the deal, is this just considered to be a part of the area or should it be seen as lift accessed back country requiring all the precautions that out of bounds skiing dictates. I looked at the website and the answers on the safety page seemed really ambiguous with regard to what the area was. Any plans to have manned gates and or equipment requirements for this area?


  3. Peter

    Another question for you: Why is there an avalanche beacon testing station near the top of Northway but not at the entrance to Southback? Seems to me that South should have one.


  4. Matt

    Hi Corey,
    Thanks for answering so many questions!
    My question is – my friends and I would like to start exploring the Crystal backcountry but don’t know how to get started. Is there a guide/book to the backcountry? Or is it possible to do a guided trip with a mountain host or something the first time?


  5. Orion

    Just wondering I am new to this sport and perhaps this is faux paux. Anyways I just wanted to know what the deal is with the snowboarder/skier rivalry. Seems like most skiers dislike the boarders for some unknown reason to me. I myself am a boarder and in my learning phase, I cant count the number of times i have been cut off by skiers. Yet when I see another boarder they are more the willing to let me take right of way even chat with me on the lift. Is this a factor of birds of a feather flock together, or are all skiers just pitted against boarders? I mean this not in a harsh way but I have not meet a single skier who is friendly in any sense whether on the lift or on the trail and more often the not its the skiers cutting me off
    what is the deal with that?


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